Beer and Food Matching Guide

For far too long, if you asked a waitperson in an Australian Restaurant
what drink to match with a particular dish, she'd bring over the wine list and a wine bottle negotiation would ensue.

But in the last few years, there's been a paradigm shift: Beer has made it onto the menu as more than an afterthought. Beverage directors, chefs, and even wine lovers have learned that beer has an amazing capacity to pair with all kinds of foods.

As a result, beer sommeliers have popped up in cities across the country. Beer-and-food tasting events have multiplied exponentially—the monthly lists at are enormous. Nowadays, asking for a beer no longer means you're simply afraid of wine (or the type of person who wears face paint to the footy)!

Beer may actually be more food-friendly than wine is. There is certainly more room for flavor variety. Winemakers, after all, have one ingredient to play with: grapes. Two, if you count wood barrel–aging.

Beermakers, on the other hand, can experiment with barley (which adds sweetness), hops (which provide bitterness), yeast (which lend that characteristic "bready" flavor), as well as spices, nuts, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables. Have you tried framboise (raspberry) or pumpkin beer, yet?

Common Beers
Ideal food matches and related recipes are below.


Pair with: Burgers; Asian food; Mexican food; spicy food; nutty food; fried food; pizza; steaks; cheeses.

Bock beer:

Pair with: Gruyère, Emmental, and Swiss cheeses; Cajun food; jerk chicken; beef; sausage; seared foods.

Fruit beer:

Pair with: Mascarpone cheese; light white meat; foods driven by herbs and spices; duck and pork dishes with sweet components; pickled dishes; salads with fruity dressings; fruity desserts.


Pair with: Shellfish; light seafood; sushi; grilled pork and chicken; not-too-heavy pasta dishes (without cream or meat sauces); Southeast Asian food; ; Mexican food; spicy food.


Pair with: American cheese; Muenster, Havarti, and Monterey Jack cheeses; salads; light seafood; salmon; tuna; trout; asparagus; Asian food; Mexican food; spicy food.


Pair with: Smoked foods; barbecue; sausage; rich stews; meats; bacon; chili; braised dishes.


Pair with: Roasted foods; smoked foods; barbecued/grilled foods; salty foods; oysters; rich stews; braised dishes; chocolate; desserts (ideally the beer is sweeter than the dish).

Wheat Beer :

Pair with: Light soups and salads; vegetarian dishes; sushi; Gruyère cheese and Feta/goat cheese; sweet and fruity Asian dishes; citrus-flavored dishes, including dessert and salad dressings.

Here's how to make the right choice sending fruit hampers.

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